Fred. Olsen Cruises has taken delivery on the first of the two cruise ships it bought from Carnival Corporation’s Holland America Line, and expected delivery of the second vessel shortly.
Holland America’s Rotterdam (IMO 9122522), which arrived in the Scottish port of Rosyth on September 4th, has been renamed Borealis.
The plan was to begin a refit of the ship, repainting her to Fred Olsen’s exterior colour scheme as well as interior renovations to create a more “traditional British feel” to the ship.
The former Rotterdam had travelled from Manila, where it had disembarked the Holland America crew. She made a final call in her namesake city of Rotterdam, where she underwent an inspection at the Damen shipyard.
Fred Olsen has also acquired the Amsterdam (IMO 9188037), which is close in design to the former Rotterdam. The Amsterdam had been on her annual world cruise in March 2020 when the pandemic struck. All passengers left the vessel in Australia before the Amsterdam started a voyage back to the US. That did not turn out well, because when she got to South Africa she was ordered to turn around, subsequently traversing the Indian Ocean to Indonesia and the Philippines, where her crew were disembarked. The Amsterdam then followed the Rotterdam on a voyage that took her through the Suez Canal and to the city of Rotterdam. Amsterdam is currently completing her inspection at the Damen shipyard before following the Rotterdam to Scotland. She will be renamed the Bolette and is due to arrive early next week.
Fred Olsen decided to downsize its fleet by accelerating the departure of older ships and refocusing on more modern vessels. Although a Norwegian company, Fred Olsen operated four cruise ships focused on the UK market. The acquisition of the larger ships from Holland America will also see two 1970s vintage cruise ships, the Black Watch and Boudicca, retired from the Fred Olsen fleet. The Borealis and Bolette will take over the already announced itineraries of the two older ships when they enter service in 2021.
1997-built, Netherlands-flagged, 61,849 gt Rotterdam is owned by HAL Nederland NV care of Holland America Line of Seattle, Washington, USA. It is entered with Steamship Mutual and UK Club. (The 2021-launched replacement, also called Rotterdam, is 99,500 gt.)
2000-built, Netherlands-flagged, 62,735 gt Amsterdam is owned by Hal Antillen NV care of Holland America Line. It too is entered with Steamship Mutual and UK Club.